When you’re buying or selling a home in the Atlanta area, odds are that you’ll encounter a few unfamiliar real estate terms. Understanding all the lingo used during the home buying or selling process is important because it means you’ll have a clear idea of what is going on. Keep an eye out for these terms as you get ready to sell or buy a house.


An appraisal is the estimate of the home’s value based on the sales of similar homes in the area. The appraisal is important for both sellers and buyers. If you’re trying to sell a home that’s appraised much lower than the asking price, you might not get many offers. If you are trying to buy a home for more than it’s appraised value, you can have trouble getting a mortgage.


When you work with a buyer’s or seller’s agent, the agent typically earns a commission. The commission is often a percentage of the sales price of the home. Both buyers and sellers should understand how commission works. If the buyer has an agent, the seller pays his or her commission at closing. The seller also pays a commission to the seller’s agent, which is known as a pay at closing listing. In some cases, the seller can choose a flat-fee listing, which means the sellers agent’s commission is a set amount, plus a much lower percentage of the sales price.

For sale by owner

For sale by owner (FSBO) often means that a seller is acting independently without the help of a seller’s agent. If the buyer has an agent, the buyer’s agent may be protected and earn a commission for the sale. Listing a home as a FSBO can limit the size of the audience for the home.

Multiple Listing Service

The multiple listing services (MLS) include listings for homes for sale through an agent or broker. Buyer’s agents are more likely to show MLS homes to their clients because they are certain to get a commission on the sale of the home. Duffy Realty of Atlanta offers the best of both worlds by listing on both the MLS and FSBO.

Purchase contract

The purchase contract is the document that both seller and buyer sign agreeing to the price of the home and the closing date. The contract usually contains contingencies, or conditions that need to be met before the deal becomes final.

Seller’s disclosure

The seller’s disclosure is an important document for both buyer and seller. On it, the seller lists any issues with the home, such as a termite infestation or work that was performed without the required permits. The disclosure gives the buyer an idea of potential problems before the home inspection, and it helps protect the seller from legal troubles.

The real estate terms above are just a small sampling of important words to know. The team at Duffy Realty is happy to explain any other real estate words that aren’t familiar to you.

Image source: Flickr